40 Days of Love project, where I would have a new goal each day - to give extra of myself rather than fasting. I am stretched thin these days, but I will still try, as I always do, to make this project happen.
But this year feels different than the past few years. I felt compelled to fast in some way. I thought about giving up alcohol, but it's not a strong enough vice for me. I thought about giving up sweets, but with my new bakery business booming, there's just no way. I thought about giving up meat, but that just didn't feel like the right answer.
Then last night, I realized exactly what I needed to give up: yelling.
It hadn't been a particularly bad day. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for Lucas to throw himself to the floor when I told him it was time to get ready for bed, even though he'd been warned that this time was coming - counting down the minutes so it wouldn't take him by surprise. Some nights I glide through the motions as he kicks and screams, keeping my calm in the face of the storm, but it wasn't one of those nights.
I had eaten some bad food and my body was achy and unhappy and exhausted. It had been one of those days where I hadn't gotten enough done. When the morning's dishes were still in the sink and I felt like I was failing. And I snapped. I yelled. Between the two of us tantruming we woke the baby. It was a terrible way to end the day.
I've struggled with yelling for a long time, and over the past couple years it's gotten much better. But I still have my days. I still have those moments where the anger rises in my chest before I can quell it. So I'm trying to commit to 40 days of not raising my voice. 40 days of responding with love and not anger.
I may fail. I'll probably fail. I'll need grace to start over. But I will start over, again and again, because love will always be worth the effort.